Wednesday, December 24, 2008

family...

well, we've been in memphis about a week now. it's so much fun to reconnect with friends and family! tom joins us tomorrow, but not 'til 2:00. he said something tonight on the phone about whether we will be ready to come back to AZ when the holidays are over. you know, i love my family, but it's messy sometimes dealing with so much "togetherness". silly conflicts, too easily hurt feelings...i must always remember that tomorrow isn't promised to any of us, to count the blessings of today, to extend grace freely and not be easily offended. i am truly enjoying this time with my family! will i be ready though to return to AZ? yes...home, my little family's home is where my heart is!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

such a tiny offering...

i hadn't really thought of this song a such a Christmas song (maybe i'm goofy!?) anyway, we sang it this past sunday at church & it was wonderful worship! listen...read the words...WORSHIP!!!!!!!!Like hinges straining from the weight,
My heart no longer can keep from singing...




God With Us, Mercy Me

Who are we--- that You would be mindful of us?
What do You see--- that's worth looking our way?
We are free--- in ways that we never should be.
Sweet release--- from the grip of these chains.

Like hinges straining from the weight,
My heart no longer can keep from singing.

All that is within me cries
For You alone be glorified:
Emmanuel, God with us.

My heart sings a brand new song.
The debt is paid, these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Lord, You know--- our hearts don't deserve Your glory;
Still You show--- a love we cannot afford.

Like hinges straining from the weight,
My heart no longer can keep from singing.

All that is within me cries
For You alone be glorified:
Emmanuel, God with us.

My heart sings a brand new song.
The debt is paid, these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Such a tiny offering
Compared to Calvary;
Nevertheless,
We lay it at Your feet.

Such a tiny offering
Compared to Calvary;
Nevertheless,
We lay this at Your feet.

All that is within me cries
For You alone be glorified:
Emmanuel, God with us.

My heart sings a brand new song.
My debt is paid, these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

a special day for elle and a few friends, new & old...

all set and ready to go!

everybody's here, let the fun begin

Yummy, yummy

pretty aprons girls!

and painted pillow cases too!

we had SUCH a good time! thank you Lord, for good friends new & old!

Friday, December 12, 2008

a blessing from the Lord...


my "miss elle" growing up too fast, but I love seeing who she is becoming!

my sam...growing up so fast...time is flying!
I'm just so thankful they have each other!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a truly Christian education...

one of marylin howshall's truths about "a truly Christian education is built on the humbling idea that your child's education is simply a direct reflection of who you are - your values and character"...her point, i think, is that the places where i am weak may lead to weakness in my children's lives! what a scary thought! this makes me think. it spurs me on to more dependence & a closer walk with Jesus. there will, no doubt, be gaps in our children's education, as well as their character. my prayer though is that this won't weigh me down & worry me. a good friend & i frequently remind one another that "He is the Great Gap Filler!" we will do our best & we will trust Him with the outcome...2 corinthians 12:10, "for when i am weak, then i am strong"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

garden in the desert...







i was just amazed at the beauty of this glass, the light, the moon...the evening was like a beautiful dream!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

evalutating simplicity...

i've been sensing that the Lord is telling me...even more simple jennifer...i think we homeschool in a fairly simple way. we're certainly not focused on going to a particular college or attaining the perfect GPA. we want our children to learn to study well, to be organized with their responsibilities, but most of all to demonstrate character that is pleasing to our Lord. we will certainly "mess up" along the way! but hopefully we will be learning as we do!

my heart is drawn back to how it all began for us, this homeschooling venture. i read so much by a lady named Marilyn Howshall. she spoke of a "lifestyle of learning" of "wisdom's way of learning". i think over the next several weeks,going through this season which began in such a simple way, i will be returning to things the Lord showed me previously. i will evaluate over this season where He wants us to "simplify" and hopefully when the new year comes, His focus will be mine!

"delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart...commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him." psalm 37:4

Friday, December 5, 2008

to say something...or not to say something...

So, here's my question...if you see something a friend or family member's child is doing that you would want to know about if it was your child...should you say something to the parent? what if you love each other, but you're not "that close"? do you take a chance on possibly offending them? what if they DO know their child is doing the thing, but they're ok with it? what if they think you're being judgmental instead of just loving their child and trying to walk along side them? The Bible says "iron sharpens iron", but when faced with it, it's a hard thing to do!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Parallel Lives (Acts 2:43-47)

(artwork by Dale Chihuly)


God didn't make us for parallel lives...

Parallel Lives...

Give me, Lord, a messy life
All mixed up with others
Let me not walk parallel
To my Christian sisters & brothers.

Mingle the colors of our lives
Into Your own design.
Make us, Lord, a masterpiece
Let our lights truly shine!

Surface talk & busyness…”How are you?”
“Oh good”…”Doin’ fine”
Leave me feeling hollow
Like I’m walking just my line.

A line that runs only parallel
To others walking the same way.
I long for intertwining,
Interruptions in my day!

“Such & such is going on…”
“Please pray for me about this…”
Let’s meet & lift our children up.
Greet each other with a kiss.

God is so about relationship.
After all, He is the Trinity.
He embodies the ultimate closeness
And sets an example for you & me.

From this world we are set apart.
We should look different from the rest!
By spending time with each other,
We’ll reap some of God’s very best!

Remember when it all started?
They met together. They worshipped & praised.
O that we would be like the Early Church!
Some eyebrows we’d surely raise!

So, this is my prayer, my Father…
That within Your narrow way,
You would beautifully mix us together
And put Your love on display!



*jb



I've talked with several friends lately whose husbands especially are worried - stressed about the future of our country, our economy, their businesses, their families. What an opportunity to pray faithfully for each other - to meet together & encourage one another. To reassure that our Father promises us that "He knows the plans He has for us, to give us a hope & a future." Let's share with each other! Let's commit to lift up one another's families. Let's love each other with the love of Christ. Let's mingle our lives together and be the Early Church!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

it's beginning to look alot like Christmas!!!





well, we are certainly ready for Christmas around here! it'll be hard to concentrate on the last couple of weeks of KEYS and school we do at home! Sam and Elle are counting the days until we head back to Tennessee instead of the days 'til Christmas! come to think of it, i'm pretty excited too! we shared a wonderful Thanksgiving with the Woods, but there's no place like home!

Friday, November 28, 2008

this is so funny!!!

please pause my playlist before viewing!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The pearl of great price...

I keep thinking about many churches today. How some church leaders seem to think they have to "entertain" people...make the gospel more palatable...for them to come. What about God's sovereignty? what about His ability to draw people to Himself? Are we not doing a disservice to the lost world? Will they know that grace is a gift worth giving our lives? Our culture today seems to think that freedom is free, and within the church that “free grace” comes at no cost. We don’t know in this world what troubles we or our children may face, but we must know – and know deeply and personally – that costly grace frees us from our slavery to sin, and transforms us to be slaves of Jesus Christ!


“Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy for which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him...Costly grace is the gospel...It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life." - Bonhoeffer

Again I ask, and Bonhoeffer did too...How do we live in "Babylon" and not become "Babylonians", but not become Parisees either!?

Bonhoffer also asked,"What happened to all those warnings of Luther's against preaching the gospel in such a manner as to make men rest secure in their ungodly living?...What are those three thousand Saxons put to death by Charlemagne compared with the millions of spiritual corpses in our country today?"

The Cost of Discipleship...

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)

"Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves...the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship..."

"Cheap grace is the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving


Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
Henry Alford, 1810-1871

Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God's own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest home.

I've decided to make an ongoing list of blessings over the next few days! I would encourage you to do the same and as the other old hymn "Count Your Blessings" says...let's see what the Lord Hath done!

1. Grace!!!
2. Tommy
3. Sam & Elle
4. Lots of family
5. Good health
6. Lots of friends (in AZ, TN, PA, GA, TX-all the places we've been blessed to live!)
more to come...
7. new friends to walk through these years of training our children
8. Covenant Community Church
9. Bible study
10. good books
11. down time
12. beautiful music
13. holidays
14. traveling home
15. blue skies
16. rain

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Christmas...



**please pause my Playlist before viewing!!

trying too hard...


Do you ever feel like you're trying so hard, but getting nowhere? Growing up, i felt like acceptance of me or others pleasure in me was dependent my "perfomances"...grades, appearance, behavior, even my faith. How do I release this mindset and truly beleive HE LOVES ME!? O, may I not re-create this faulty thinking in my children. May I not nurture it in my marriage. May I not allow it in my faith! I'm tired of the burden of wondering what other people might be thinking. God has a calling for me, for my family, for my marriage, for my children. Show me, Lord, Your unique plan for me and our family. Let others not be my standard, but you alone, Father. Let me relax and abide in a place of peace and security...in Your hand.

Monday, November 17, 2008

stop the slow fade...


well, we had a little (actually, not that little) computer disaster! yep, we didn't have back up like some wise friends warned me. oh well, maybe starting anew will somehow be a blessing in disguise! i'll let you know if it turns out to be! anyway, in this "no computer quiet time" God has been busy laying some things on my heart and i'll finally take the time to put them into words...

i've been asking the Lord to teach me as He promises He will in matthew 11, "come to Me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. take My yoke upon you. let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle and you will find rest for your souls". i feel so burdened about teaching our children about relationships. i'm sort of surprised God hasn't brought this to mind sooner, but His timing is His timing, and i will trust that this is the right time! so, here's what He's shown me so far...

1. my children need to be resolved about God's plan for them BEFORE they enter into relationshipsdaniel 1:8-17
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your [a] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you."

11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.


2. my children need other like-minded guys/girls/families to walk along side themII timothy 2:19-22
19Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his,"[a] and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."

20In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

3. my children have to know they can't do it without maintaining their daily walk with GodII peter 1:5-10
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall.

4. my children must hide scriptures in their hearts so the Holy Spirit can bring them to mind when neededI corinthians 6:18-20
18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

I corinthians 10:12-13
12So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

psalm 24:3-4
3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
Who may stand in his holy place?

4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.

matthew 5:8
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.

proverbs 25:16
16 If you find honey, eat just enough—
too much of it, and you will vomit.

and finally...genesis 39, the story of joseph and potiphar's wife.

some recent quotes i've heard:

"sin has no dominion over you. don't put your body in situations that would make it easy to fall."

"a strong run is better than a weak stance everyday!"

"continue to stand firm even when you're surrounded by those bowing down to the things of this world...may God make you Daniels in your generation as you refuse to blend in." - beth moore


thank you Lord for blessing us with friendships with other families who are seeking your way to train our children. may we all lift each other up, encourage one another, and persevere together!

Monday, November 3, 2008

take my life...

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee

Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee
Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold
Take my intellect and use every power as You choose

Here am I
All of me
Take my life
It's all for Thee

Take my will and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine
Take my heart, it is Thine own, it shall be Thy royal throne
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at your feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee



Oh, this is so my prayer! Lord, tell me for what purpose you have me here. You chose the time and the place for me. Let me move where you are moving. Let me speak where your words need to be heard. Let me reach out where your touch is needed. A glimpse...encouraging discipleship...that we love grace, but that we not stop there, but go on with your calling...obedience, spritual growth, lives of integrity, sincerity, authenticity and most of all pure love...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Faith of Our Fathers...

Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to the government and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion without whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we bless Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. George Washington Commander in Chief Continental Army June 14, 1783

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace and too proud to pray to the God who made us.” Abraham Lincoln War between the States 1883.


Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm found basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep forever. Thomas Jefferson

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her natural resources and vast world commerce and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her institutions of learning, her democratic congress her matchless constitution and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great. (Alexandre de Tocqueville, French statesman)

God’s Word tells us in Psalm 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

In II Chronicles 7:14 the Lord says “If my people who are called by my Name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Saturday, November 1, 2008

a righteous vote...

Lord, Send a Revival...


did you ever attend a "tent revival" when you were younger? many of us from the south did! i loved it...sawdust on the floor, everyone with a hand fan for keeping cool, hymn singing, lots of praying, lots of preaching...lots of conversions! i have been praying for revival in our country, as i'm sure many have! i sat with some friends in their kitchen last night. we all traded stories about "the latest news from the campaign trail". finally, we all pondered the question of what will life be like after tuesday. whatever the outcome, i know that the world and our destinies are not ultimately controlled by who is in the white house. so, i pray that God will send revival to our nation, no matter the headlines on wednesday morning.


from the Baptist Hymnal, pg.333, Lord,Send a Revival, B.B.McKinney, 1886-1952

Send a revival, O Christ, my Lord, Let it go over the land and sea,
Send it according to Thy dear Word, And let it begin in me.

Send a revival among Thine own, Help us to turn from our sins away,
Let us get nearer the Father's throne, Revive us again, we pray.

Send a revival to those in sin, Help them, O Jesus, to turn to Thee,
Let them the new life in Thee begin, Oh, give them the victory.

Send a revival in every heart, Draw the world nearer, O Lord, to Thee,
Let Thy salvation true joy impart, And let it begin in me.

Lord, send a revival,
Lord, send a revival,
Lord, send a revival,
And let it begin in me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

an Iraq veteran has a message...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

the bridge...

"How deep the Father's love for me, how vast beyond all measure. That He would send His only Son to make this wretch His treasure."

I can't get this video to post to my blog, so please take a look on your own! Be sure to share it with your friends!
http://www.maximumreferrals.com/bridge

Monday, October 27, 2008

golf, new friendships, answered prayers

Sam played golf this past week with 3 other guys and their youth pastor. what an answer to prayer. Tom used to play golf with friends when he was about Sam's age, and we have prayed and longed for similar friendships here in AZ for Sam. He came home from the round and told me, "Mom, I really liked these guys. They were the same with "just the guys" as they are all the time." People of integrity are not so easy to come by these days. What a blessing that God would answer our prayers and bring some new friends into Sam's life at just the right time! I talked to one of the mom's yesterday at church and told her what an answer to prayer her boys' friendships were. She told me, "Oh, don't think you were the only one praying about this!" I love to think about God having already answered this prayer long ago, and us just having to wait for His timing!

"In the name of Jesus Christ, who was never in a hurry, we pray, O God, that You will slow us down, for we know that we live too fast. With all of eternity before us, make us take time to live - time to get acquainted with You, time to enjoy Your blessings, and time to know each other." - Peter Marshall

Sunday, October 26, 2008

overwhelmed...


i couldn't explain the underlying pressure i was feeling. every time i sat down to spend time in prayer, i felt overwhelmed...too much, too many, what if i leave out something important...i've been all about "praying without ceasing" for a long time, but i had no peace.

then i was reading from a book a good friend lent me, The Salt House. it's the story of a summer on the dunes of cape cod. surely this would bring me peace. i love the ocean! then i read "i always feel a chill as i approach this spot, haunted by birds and deerflies. how tenuous our hold here seems, even in this green valley shining in sunlight, even on such a bright spring morning. i look at the boathouse covered in vines, its interior filling up with sand, and i feel my life slipping away under me, the sand blowing over, covering everything i know..." that was it! that was how i was feeling!

then today at church we sang "mighty to save" and the pastor read to us from hebrews. "but Jesus remains a priest forever to save everyone who comes to God through Him. HE LIVES FOREVER TO PLEAD WITH GOD ON THEIR BEHALF."

you know, i knew this, but i needed reminding. so much to pray for, so much to hope for, so much for which to be thankful...

we also sang amazing grace (my chains are gone) and "your word my hope secures" jumped out at me...

the pressure gone...the peace i was seeking found again...my great high priest has it covered! i can rest, abide and enjoy Him.

desert dwellers...


"The most significant lesson that desert dwellers can learn is to regard themselves not as exiles from some better place, but as people at home in an environment to which life can be adjusted." Forrest Shreve

Grandmom and Auntie Lou's visit!






















If anyone thinks the idea of "living in the desert" sounds dull...we had more than enough to keep us busy!